A Day in the Life of a Country Postmistress

| 2/25/2013 3:13:50 PM

For the past few weeks the media has been hyper-ventilating about the U.S. Postal Service discontinuing Saturday deliveries. Hundreds of small post offices have been closed and more are on the list. This is about one of those.

Erma Dickey Wonstetler was appointed assistant Postmaster of the tiny U.S. Post Office in Signal, Ohio, in 1906, at the same time as her father, Jefferson John Dickey, was appointed Postmaster. She served as his assistant until he retired in 1940, and then succeeded him. The Post Office served about 200 customers and was located in a small general store owned and managed by Mr. Dickey, his daughter, and her husband, Alvin Wonstetler.

A year after her appointment as Postmistress, Mrs. Wonstetler wrote an account of her typical day which she titled, "Highlights of a Country Postmistress in (a) Village Store," which I've excerpted here.

Highlights of a Country Postmistress in (a) Village Store

It is 7:30 A.M. when I throw open the doors of the Post Office and Store for the daily routine.

In walks Chuck, "Give me a 3-cent stamp and a pound of baloney. I want the baloney sliced thin and I want one of them there big stamps, 'cause Mom wants this letter to go in a hurry and I think the big stamp is the fastest. Don't you?"

Then Bruce speaks up, "I'd like a dimes worth of Cartwheels and a Money Order. Mother put the money in the envelope and said you'd know how to fix it. Be sure it goes on this bus, 'cause she is getting me a football and I need it, you bet."